Re: CSA organizational form
Our CSA in Ames, IA is going to be looking at these issues too over this
year. I have a couple thoughts:
1) Call Dan Nagengast of the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance
(800-307-8949) in Lawrence KS--they're not a CSA, but they've been
functioning as a producer coop for 4+ years, and might be formalizing
2) I could send you (if I can find it, I should be able to) a copy of a
paper that Amanda from the Wisc. Center for Coops sent me about why coops
should be uniting producers/workers and consumers, not either/or as they
all are now. I think it makes a lot of sense, and CSA would be a logical
place to pioneer it.
I'd like to keep in touch with you--this year, our multiple producer CSA
is functionally dividing into an educational/member focused group and a
producer group, with coordinators of each meeting regularly. We may
continue that way, and form a producer coop, or decide to go back and
make it one organization again, with cooperative projects with nonprofits
(churches, human service agencies, educational institutions...)
we're beginning to work with this year. Its going to be very interesting,
and I'm glad others are hoping to break new ground too! Please send me
your paper address and I'll send you that article.
We're also talking about paying for labor from the CSA so our largest
producer doesn't have the paperwork headache--does anyone do that?
Hopefully it will be through an apprentice arrangement through our
increasing connections with Iowa State Univ. --I have no idea what this
will do tax-wise... You might also write Neil Hamilton at the Drake
Agricultural Law Center, he's beginning to work on a legal handbook for
farm marketing (27th & Carpenter, DSM, IA 50311)--this is probably
outside what he's conceived of, but maybe not.
Thanks, and good luck! Jeff
> I am an attorney and a member of Vanguarden CSA in Dover, MA. As part of a
> larger project to find and acquire land, I am looking at organizational
> issues for the CSA. Currently, the CSA is operated as an informal
> partnership between 3 farmers. In thinking about incorporation or creating
> an agricultural cooperative, I was curious whether any other CSAs ought there
> have wrestled with these issues and, if so, what was the result? I am
> particularly interested to learn whether any CSAs are operating as non-profit
> corporations or coops. Even if you haven't dealt with this as part of your
> CSA but have some ideas, strategies or contacts, I'd appreciate hearing from
> you. Thanks! Michael Bainum
"To create community we need to love each other, trust each other and help
each other; that is hard."